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How to Get Good Customer Service

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Posted 30th July 2011 at 10:40 AM by nycwriter

Things in life should run smoothly, right? I believe this, and so when unsatisfactory experiences rear their ugly heads, I am always the first one to say something. I have always been a person that demands good customer service and speaks out when I don’t get it. In fact, over the years I have garnered quite a reputation among my friends and relatives, who sometimes enlist my help with difficult customer service situations. Some of my more noteworthy customer service accomplishments:
-I once got flowers from Continental airlines (plus a bunch of frequent flier miles)

-I have gotten tons of follow up calls from managers, just “making sure the issue was resolved to my satisfaction.”

-Room upgrades, fruit baskets, you name it at hotels

– I just got $727 from Bank of America, simply for calling to inquire about my account and requesting a review.

Be Prepared, Focused, and Clear on What You Want
Here are some of the tactics I employ to get companies to give me what I want. Hopefully some of them will be helpful to you.

1. Be prepared. Get your account number ready, know your balance, and (if necessary) write down your exact question so you don’t become unfocused during the call. Use this customer service directory to find the exact information.

2. Be clear on exactly what you want.

3. Ask for names. Always get identifying information from the person who is helping you. Getting a name (and identification number if possible) raises the stakes and makes the customer service rep pay more attention to solving your problem.

4. Ask for a manager. Don’t be afraid to ask for the customer service rep’s manager if you don’t get what you want. Remember, you are giving (or have given) that company your money, so technically, they work for you.

5. Mark the call on your calendar. Too many times we get distracted by life and forget to follow up, which compounds our problems with late fees. Pay attention to the problem and see it all the way through until it’s resolved- don’t depend on customer service reps to care about your life and accounts the way you do.

6. (Goes with # 5) Be persistent. Put in a call every Monday, for example, until the issue is resolved. Ask the customer service rep that helps you to make a note in the account every single time you call.

7. Ask “is this call being recorded?” Sometimes just a mention of the fact that you are concerned about quality customer service is enough to make customer service people turn on their best behavior. If you are not satisfied, be sure to say “I am not satisfied” so it shows up on the recording.

8. Pay your bills on time. This is something you can do on your end that will eventually help you gain more leverage with companies, who of course don’t want to lose their best customers. Make sure to emphasize “I have been a loyal customer, I have always paid on time, and I expect to be satisfied or I will take my business elsewhere.”

9. Put it in writing. If you have called a company repeatedly and are clearly getting nowhere (or worse, can’t get through at all), send a letter via certified mail to the “Customer Retention Department,” clearly outlining the methods that you’ve taken and suggesting that they improve their call center because good customers like yourself are getting lost in the shuffle. Make sure you send this letter “signature required” so a real person has to sign for it. Do not let yourself get lost!

10. Talk about it on social media. Now more than ever, companies are eager to solve problems when people are talking about them publicly. Look up the Facebook page of the company in question as well as their Twitter name, and make sure them to mention them in the title of any blog post you might make complaining about them. And, of course, visit and enter your story, which will be distributed via social media.

Bonus: # 11. When you get good customer service, SAY SOMETHING! As consumers we need to encourage these good practices as much as we fight against the bad ones (if not more!). This is how companies know what they’re doing right. Ask to be transferred to the helpful customer service rep’s manager so you can say nice things about them. Send a nice letter. Fill out a survey. Talk about how awesome they were on social media or your blog. Reward the good, people!

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